SEATTLE (AP) — Obafemi Martins scored two goals in his first game since June 16 and the Seattle Sounders beat the Orlando City FC Lions 4-0 on Sunday to snap their club-record losing streak at five games.
The Sounders (11-12-2) won for the first time since beating DC United 1-0 on July 3. That was Seattle’s only win in a stretch of nine games (1-8-0) while Martins, now with a team-leading nine goals, recovered from a groin injury suffered late in a 3-1 U.S. Open Cup loss to Portland.READ MORE: Tax Refund Delays Likely To Grow As Filing Deadline Nears
“I’m so excited to be back and playing a game with the team,” said Martins, who scored midway through the 17th minute, then midway through the 62nd. “It was pretty sad seeing the team losing a lot of games. But I’m glad that I’m back and we won.”
Martins, still working his way back into game shape, subbed out in the 66th minute.
“I’m a lot better, and I can’t wait to be more better and try to do what I can to help the team,” he said.
The Sounders scored as many goals on Sunday as they had in their previous nine games combined. It was their first multiple-goal game since a 3-0 victory against FC Dallas on June 13.
Paraguayan newcomer Nelson Valdez, signed Aug. 7, headed in a target ball from Erik Friberg for his first goal and a 2-0 lead late in the 51st minute. After Martins made it 3-0 midway in the 62nd, Thomas scored during stoppage time, his first.
Martins could have had a third goal, but was denied on a 30th-minute penalty kick when Orlando goalkeeper Tally Hall dove to his left to save it. The rebound went right to Seattle’s Andy Rose, but his 10-yard shot from the right side also was saved by Hall.
“He’s a valuable player to the team, and he brings special qualities,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said of Martins. “But like I said, the most important thing he brings is he gives everyone else on the field confidence. As their confidence grows, all of a sudden, guys who have been struggling played beyond themselves a little bit. It makes all the difference in the world.”READ MORE: 'This Is Not Just Any Usual Recovery': Economist Explains Rash Of Price Hikes, Product Shortages
Martins worked a give-and-go with Lamar Neagle for a 7-yard shot past Hall into the back left corner to open the scoring. His second-half goal came when he faked Hall off of his feet and tapped a shot into a wide-open net from inside the 6-yard box.
Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei earned his ninth shutout, Seattle’s first since the July 3 victory against United. Frei was not called upon to make a save as the Sounders outshot Orlando City, 21-5, and had 55 percent of the possession.
The Lions (7-11-7) went down a man in the 40th minute when defender Tyler Turner was sent off with his second yellow card.
“I’m really disappointed — bitterly disappointed — with our performance,” said Orlando coach Adrian Heath, whose team is still in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, but has just one victory in its last eight games (1-5-2).
“We started sloppy and never really got a foothold in the game at any stage. Then we compound it by turning the ball over cheaply in the first half, then getting a guy sent off when we had possession of a free kick in the outskirts of our own box. We haven’t done ourselves any favors today.”
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